NBA

Thunder, Russell Westbrook hand Clippers First Loss of Season

Russell Westbrook scored 35 points as he singlehandedly led the Thunder to a 85-83 victory over the LA Clippers, their first loss of the season.

Russell Westbrook scored 35 points as he singlehandedly led the Thunder to a 85-83 victory over the LA Clippers, their first loss of the season.

Westbrook hit a jumper with 18.7 seconds left as the Thunder held off the Clippers in the waning minutes to remain undefeated on the young season.

Westbrook added six rebounds and five assists for the Thunder, who surged in the final minutes of a tight meeting between Western Conference contenders.

Westbrook had triple-doubles in the Thunder's last two games, and was one assist shy of another in their opener. He mostly concentrated on scoring in his hometown, delivering a spectacular dunk in the third quarter while going 14 for 30 in 31 minutes.

Chris Paul had 15 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists for the Clippers, who hit just one shot in a 5 1/2-minute span late in the fourth quarter.

Paul broke the ankles of Thunder guard Andre Roberson with a sensational crossover move in the third quarter.

Earlier in the game, Paul took an elbow to the face courtesy of OKC backup center Nick Collison, and momentarily left the game before returning in the second half with a bloody nose. 

Brandon Bass in his first action of the season hit a half-court buzzer beater at the end of the third quarter to give the Clippers a one-point lead heading into the final frame.

Both teams entered the game undefeated on the young season at 3-0 with the Clippers falling for the first time this year and the Thunder moving to 4-0 without Kevin Durant.

With a momentous visit to Golden State for a reunion with Kevin Durant looming Thursday night, the Thunder could have been excused for looking ahead. Instead, Westbrook added another gutsy performance to his incredible start to his first season as the main man.

Westbrook's layup put the Thunder up 81-78 with 2:17 left, and he converted Jamal Crawford's turnover into a dunk 66 seconds later. J.J. Redick hit a 3-pointer to trim Oklahoma City's lead to two points, but Westbrook knocked a loose ball off the Clippers following Andre Roberson's second missed free throw, and then he hit a 17-footer to essentially seal it.

Westbrook averaged 38.7 points, 12.3 rebounds and 11.7 assists in a spectacular three-game start to the Thunder's post-Durant season. He became the first player since Magic Johnson in 1982 to start a season with triple-doubles in two of the first three games

Westbrook had 16 points, four assists and two rebounds in the first half.

TIP-INS

Thunder: Alex Abrines only played the final 12.3 seconds of the first half, but he hit a 3-pointer with 1.6 seconds left to stake OKC to a 49-41 lead. The former FC Barcelona regular finished with six points. ... Victor Oladipo's nine points were the second-most by an Oklahoma City player.

Clippers: LA's early-season struggles from the 3-point line continued in the first half when the Clippers went 3 for 14, including 1 for 7 by the starters. ... Blake Griffin had 14 points and nine rebounds. Marreese Speights had 14 points.

NEW GUY

Jerami Grant made his Thunder debut one day after they acquired him from Philadelphia in a trade for Ersan Ilyasova and a protected draft pick. The third-year forward from Syracuse came off the bench in the second quarter and eventually finished with six points in 18 minutes.

UP NEXT

Thunder: At Golden State on Thursday to complete a two-game California road trip.

Clippers: A two-game road trip begins in Memphis on Friday night.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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